TAMPA, Fla. — Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens used the GOP’s biggest stage Wednesday to continue his withering criticism of “Obamacare.”
“We know that the Constitution limits federal power, but President Obama clearly believes those limits just get in his way,” said Olens, who joined a failed federal lawsuit fighting the legislation shortly after taking office in 2010.
He shared the stage with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, another rising star in GOP circles. She worked to sign on plaintiff states to the lawsuit after taking office in 2010. Bondi is a co-chair of a national coalition tasked with turning out women to vote for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Georgia delegates said they were excited to see Olens on such a big stage.
“Sam represented us in the health care lawsuit, and we are very proud of him for getting up there,” said Peggy Henderson, the vice-chair of the Georgia Republican Party.
The pride was shared by other Georgia delegates as they waited on the floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum for Olens, the only Georgia official with a main speaking role, to take the stage.
“I called him last week and told him I was real proud of him,” said Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. “He is a colleague that is doing so well.”
Olens is one of Romney’s top Georgia supporters and is chairman of his state steering committee.
“It’s more than just a political connection; I think Romney really likes him,” Black said. “There is a personal relationship there.”
Olens was with Romney to provide legal guidance in Washington, D.C., when the United States Supreme Court ruled the law constitutional. Black said Olens has been an ascendant figure in Georgia politics, but maintains a low-key persona.
“He is from Cobb County; he was chairman of the county commission,” Black said. “In my vernacular, he is from town.”
Olens’ role as convention speaker was clear: Attack Obamacare.
“It distorts our Constitution and endangers our fragile economy,” he said. “We did everything in our power to stop it, taking the fight all the way to the United States Supreme Court.
On Tuesday, Romney officially clinched the Republican nomination for president with 2,061 delegate votes. Georgia gave Romney and his running mate – U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. – all of its 76 votes.